Mendoza – gateway to the Andes

Mendoza is the first sizable city you reach in Argentina and from here you can look back to the Andes and see the looming giant, Aconcagua, on the horizon. I plan to stay for about 4 days to enjoy the Argentinian steak, wine and some hiking. My hostel, Punto Urbano, is fairly central, the staff are friendly and dorms are $200 Argentinian pesos (£8.50).

I went out to explore, purchase an Argentinian SIM and to post my postcards (from Easter Island!). The hostel maps are pretty naff so I got totally turned around and wasted loads of time, but I got there in the end. It is quite a clean and fancy city and it’s not cheap. The economy is based on cash, so very few places accept card. Plus, the government exchange rate isn’t great either so there’s a fairly legit money exchange scene. This is how I turned the tide: It was superb. An all you can eat buffet and some fabulous Malbec for $300 pesos (about £12!).

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